Monday, April 5, 2021

What's the Matter With People? COVID Fears and Follies

I have to admit, I wasn't surprised after reading national polls that state that half of Republican men refuse to obey safety standards (masks, etc.), and get a vaccination.

Apparently Republican women are smarter. 

To be "in" with the fractured GOP means opposing anything the Democrats or scientists have to say about the pandemic.

Being afraid of COVID-19 is not a bad thing.

Getting a vaccine to fight the virus is not a bad thing.

A partisan alternate universe is a bad thing when it comes to controlling a deadly virus that keeps mutating and getting deadlier. 

Examples of overcrowded beaches and restaurants with people ignoring mask mandates are everywhere.

It's almost like living between two worlds.

One recognizes the real danger COVID brings, and the other pretends the virus has gone away and things are normal.

The fact is COVID-19 varieties are springing up in several states, as the virus morphs into deadlier versions.

Unfortunately, many social media platforms are hives of misinformation that allow science-deniers to spread their bullshit with ease.

It's up to people with sense to tell the difference between fact and folly. Let's hope there's enough people out there to overcome this pandemic.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Review: Hemingway -The Man and the Myth

I'm looking forward to a PBS special tomorrow on one of my favorite writers in American literature, Ernest Hemingway.

Critics agree he was one of America's most complicated writers. The three-part documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick examines one of the greatest and most influential writers America has ever produced.

I remember being transported to exotic places in high school when I read his work. He came across as a courageous adventurer with the ability to tell a story in sharp short sentences

The series features his iconic short stories, and non-fiction. The producers revealed how brilliant, ambitious, charismatic, and complicated Papa Hemingway was.

The viewer is taken on a journey into Hemingway's life. The good, bad, and the ugly.

This documentary offers another generation a look at the myth and the man. I highly recommend everyone to watch the series.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Return To Normalcy: NBA To Allow Fans on April 15th

It's been too long.

As a Los Angeles Laker fan for 56 years, I've been suffering B-Ball Withdrawal since the pandemic.

Watching NBA games in the Bubble last season was weird and anti-climatic. 

The Lakers still haven't put up their championship banner for the 2020-21 season, instead they opted to wait until fans could witness the moment.

One of the most storied rivalries (Lakers and Celtics), two teams who fueled the NBA's growth over a decade, will be on the court in front of fans at Staples Center on April 15th.

Now that the Lakers have state guidance, they're confident that fans will be safely attending.

The Lakers could use some inhouse encouragement with the bad luck they've experienced this season.

Playing without their two superstars, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, has been a real challenge for their bench to fill the void.

When the dynamic duo returns it will be in front of fans. That's the way it should be.

I'll be counting the days.

Friday, April 2, 2021

'Tough Guy' Lindsey Graham Makes An Ass of Himself

In a demonstration of how clueless Lindsey Graham is he touched off a fierce backlash from critics when he posted a video of himself shooting an AR-15.

This after several mass shootings with assault weapons last month. Not only is it pouring fuel on the fire about mass shootings in was just a stupid thing to do.

Yesterday Graham posted a video of himself shooting an AR-15 with the caption; "I fired one of the weapons they are trying to ban."

Isn't that cute?

Graham's stunt was like doing a photo-op with box cutters on an airplane after 911. Nothing says "tough guy" like wearing khakis and a first-trimester paunch.

Using the threat of an assault weapon ban Graham was hoping to normalize carrying around an assault rifle, and even claimed a ban years ago was worthless.

In fact gun massacres fell 37 percent in 1997 while the ban was in place, but rose by 183 percent after the ban expired.

Boldly declaring that if there was a natural disaster, Graham said his AR-15 will keep the marauding gangs of Hispanics away from his home.

Marauding gangs of Hispanics? That telling racist trope gives away Graham's attitude regarding people with brown skin.

He should be ashamed of himself, instead of bragging while people are mourning the losses of loved ones murdered with assault rifles.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Bothsidesism Is Destroying Public Confidence in Media

Lester Holt hit the nail on the head after accepting the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism on Tuesday, when he said "fairness is overrated."

What did he mean?

"That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention," he said to the audience of his peers.

Lester is absolutely right.

Why provide a forum for misinformation? What benefit is there to giving unsupported arguments an open forum? The answer is none.

The sharp critique by Lester struck a note with me. I never agreed that it was a good idea to give liars and conspiracy nuts equal time in the mainstream media.

In recent polling by Axios just 46% of people said they trust traditional news media. In addition, 56% of the poll respondents said they agreed with this statement:

"Journalist and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations."

Who can blame people for thinking that?

Until the mainstream media decides to quit giving liars and conspiracy nuts a platform, this problem will only get worse.

Unlike Kellyanne Conway's claim of an "alternate universe" we all live in a reality based world.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

'Pretty Boy' Rep. Matt Gaetz Is In Big Trouble

Known for applying his own facial makeup, Pretty Boy Matt Gaetz has had to double the amount this week to account for swollen eyes from bawling.

What has Gaetz crying and lying about an investigation on his activities?

The Department of Justice is looking at his illegal relationship with a 17-year old two years ago.

Turns out Gaetz's good buddy Joel Greenberg - a former county official in Florida who was arrested for sex trafficking of a minor last year - was part of a broader investigation by the DOJ.

Here's the interesting part, AG William Barr (a tried and true Trumpie) was the one who opened the investigations on Greenberg and Gaetz months before leaving office.

Any claims it was Democrats demonizing him are patently untrue.

Gaetz claims he, and his father, are being extorted by a former DOJ official - David McGee - with no evidence to support his accusation.

"It is completely false. It's a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that he's under investigation for sex trafficking of minors," McGee told the Washington Post.

Surprisingly FOX News host Tucker Carlson didn't blindly back Gaetz's claims. After the interview Carlson said it was "one of the weirdest" he's ever done.

That's because Gaetz was talking about a dinner he supposedly had two years ago with Carlson about his girlfriend at the time. Carlson simple couldn't recall the event.

I can't help wondering if QAnon nuts are following this because it's about sex trafficking - one of their favorite tropes. Instead of being a Democrat (the claim all along), it's a Republican under scrutiny for having sex with a minor.

What's really bugging Pretty Boy Gaetz is if he goes to prison, he won't be allowed to use facial makeup - which is probably a good thing in a men's prison.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Nationwide GOP Goal: Restricting Trans Girls in All Sports

Republicans have to have segments of society to demonize in order to feed their vicious Trump-inspired followers.

If it isn't about immigration, then it's something else. Disenfranchising minorities continues to be a favorite way to exclude non-Republican voters.

The latest push to restrict trans girls from being able to participate in women's and girls school sports, has been gaining momentum lately.

For those who remember South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (and her gift of a model of Mt. Rushmore with Trump in it), it comes as no surprise she's in the vanguard of this suppression of human rights.

Yesterday she signed two executive bills that made sure trans girls would not have any rights to appeal. One for K-12 athletes, and another to to do so in college athletes.

Meanwhile LGBTQ+ advocates are deeply concerned about the Republican push for similar laws across the nation.

There's been 192 anti-LGBTQ+ bills scattered across the country since Biden took office.

Last week, Arkansas signed into law a ban on transgender women and girl's ability to compete in school sports.

Mississippi and North Dakota passed similar laws last month. The GOP's goal is to erase and exclude trans people from participation in all aspects of life. It's that simple... and evil.

The good news is there's resistance with organizations - and Democrats - fighting for trans rights.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Hate Groups Fundraising Off Capitol Hill Riot Are Cashing In

Here's a sobering thought; U,S-based hate groups have had access to at least 54 means of raising money online, including crowdfunding and online payment tools.

As of last week, 10 people accused in the Capitol riot were fundraising for legal fees on GiveSendGo, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

CNN reported that the website GiveSendGo, which bills itself as the" #1 free Christian crowdfunding site, became a refuge for insurrectionists hoping to raise cash.

Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a protest against police brutality was featured on GiveSendGo.

Despite a crackdown on hate groups by tech companies using popular payment processors and an expanding network of fundraising platforms, has been a hit-and-miss affair.

It's like playing "whack-a-mole." One website (or crowd funder) kicks off a bad actor, and they show up on another one almost immediately.

One of the eight fundraisers last week, AllFunIt, reportedly raised 180,000 for Brandon Straka, a supporter of Trump who was arrested for his involvement in the insurrection. 

AllFundIt was created last fall by a "Christian conservative alternative to GoFundMe." The platform encourages those associated with the Capitol riot to raise money.

As long as these hate groups can bounce from one platform to another they're going to thrive.

Until big tech unilaterally decides to get really serious about the problem, hate groups are going to multiple in the days, months, and years ahead.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Immigrants From South America Have Always Been a Burden to Presidents

For decades the U.S. has been trying to control the amount of South Americans illegally crossing the border.

Biden's challenge with illegal immigrants is nothing new. To hear the Republicans talk, Biden is blowing it on the border. Some Democrats agree.

Rather than looking at the ups and downs of past administrations Biden is taking flak because he hasn't solved the problem in his first 72 days.

He'd be the first to do so. No other president has come up with an answer to the constant flow of illegal immigrants.

Trump tried and violated basic humanity by separating children from their parents. He built part of a wall that serves no other purpose than being a curiosity and waste of taxpayer money.

The damn wall didn't do a thing towards solving the problem. It only enriched rip-off Trumplican contractors.

So why is Biden catching so much shit on the subject?

He's taken a humane approach to the challenge and allowing unaccompanied children to enter. But the human approach has had it's fallbacks.

It gives the Republicans a can to kick around throughout Biden's presidency. 

By attacking Biden's approach without even giving it a chance, the opposition is managing to divide more Americans daily.

Rome wasn't built in a day. Solving decades old problems is not going to happen in a mere 72 days. That's reality.

The administration's new approach faces numerous hurdles because the nation is so divided on the subject.

As living conditions continue to get worse in South America the challenges to immigration are going to be an ongoing theme.

No administration has come up with an answer yet. That everyone expects Biden to be the savior is unrealistic.

Without massive reforms in South America we will always face this challenge.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Rogue Supreme Court: Why H.R.1 Must Be Passed By The Senate

There was a time when the Supreme Court would have hesitated to enhance state latitude by enacting policies from new voter ID requirements to ensure they did not harm Blacks and other minority voters.

Those days are gone under Chief Justice Roberts. The Supreme Court today is busy hollowing out federal voting rights protection.

Since the Republicans losses in 2020, and lies about fraud from Trump, there's been a rash of states attempting to change voting laws to disenfranchise minority voters.

Georgia went all in and passed a spate of laws ensuring it's going to be hard for minorities to vote in the next election. They even went to ridiculous and draconian measures to outlaw people bringing food or drink to voting lines.

The problem is the now conservative court is giving states leeway over how they run elections, thus allowing partisans to weaken voting rights for minorities. 

Led by Roberts, the court has also dismissed concerns about the consequences for minority voters as it curtailed the reach of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The signal the conservatives on the court have sent is they are willing to tolerate a lot of partisanship in how elections are run.

However, the Biden administration is not going to stand by and watch voting rights get diluted by extremist conservatives and a rogue Supreme Court.

Earlier this month the House passed the For The People Act, (H.R.1)which provides sweeping election reforms to protect voter's rights. The next step is the senate, where opposition from McConnell and his minions has already solidified.

Senate Republicans are warning they're going to filibuster H.R.1.

It's up to Biden to stand up and either shut down the filibuster, or change it to conform to past standards. 

In my opinion, the Democrats are not going to pass any meaningful legislation unless they kill the filibuster.

I just don't want to see the same mistake the Obama administration made thinking the Republicans would compromise on legislations for the good of all Americans.

With the Supreme Court enabling conservatives to change voting laws to their advantage, H.R. 1 is the last chance to ensure future elections won't be rigged by the Republican Party.

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Enemy Within: Far-Right Republicans

Since Trump destroyed whatever credibility the Republican party had, it's politicians have become the enemy of the people.

Just look at the rank and file Republicans who wanted Biden's American Relief benefits. GOP Republicans in Congress voted against it despite their constituents desire for help.

The most recent assault by GOP obstructionists in Georgia shows how high the stakes are.

Republican lawmakers passed a bill that will seriously restrict voting rights after losing the state to Democrats in 2020.

The bill is a blast from the past featuring Jim Crow laws that would have made racist George Wallace proud.

But it doesn't end there.

The attack against voting rights is being duplicated in 38 states with Republican legislatures as I write this.

Exactly when did it become okay to blatantly subvert voting rights out in the open?

Traditionally Republicans have tried to suppress the vote because they fear more people will vote for Democrats if given the opportunity.

That attitude went viral when Trump took office. After he lost the election, he rallied his MAGA supporters to declare all-out war on voting accessibility.

The sad part of this dismantling of American voices is that it wasn't always like this. I remember when ALL AMERICANS were urged to vote.

Under Trump, the Republican party has become "the enemy within."

Some Scary Halloween Costumes: What Would Happen If There Wasn't a Dress Code in Congress?

Inspired by Rep. "Gym" Jordan's refusal to wear a suit jacket in the Capitol (or anywhere else), I have a stunning prediction...